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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Online Filter Bubbles

Check out this very interesting video from Eli Pariser at a February 2011 TED Event. Very interesting on how search engines, content providers and other web providers are giving you what they think you need versus what you actually want. Eli makes a very interesting case that as web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there’s a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a “filter bubble” and don’t get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli argues powerfully, that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.

Check it out here!


Faux job numbers could lead to real trouble

Here is a VERY interesting article regarding the manipulation of the U.S. Job numbers and the potential consequences of publishing false numbers. Check it out. I have placed the article here for you to read. Something worth considering. Especially if you have an interest in what the Fed does with interest rates.


Faux Job Numbers Could Lead To Real Trouble


Last Updated: 12:54 AM, April 12, 2011

Posted: 12:00 AM, April 12, 2011

Deception is a dangerous thing. You never really know when a lie may turn on you.

Take, for instance, the Labor Department’s annual springtime boost in the faux jobs market. While it’s nice that the government thinks there is an employment boom coming, this won’t be a good development if that boom turns out to be imaginary yet still causes the Federal Reserve to prematurely tighten credit conditions.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Early this month Labor reported that 216,000 new jobs were created in March. It was better than Wall Street expected.

But the figure included 117,000 jobs that the department thinks, but can’t prove, were created by newly formed companies that might not even exist. In fact, the department is getting so optimistic about the labor market that it increased this imaginary job count from just 81,000 in March, 2010.

As I’ve been telling you for months, the spring always causes the Labor Department to goose its job-creation numbers. And maybe sometime in the future this process will be warranted. But during 2009 and 2010 these springtime assumptions — which are officially called the Birth/Death Model by Labor — led to major errors in the annual job count.

The next three months should be doozies. In April 2010, the Labor Department guessed that 188,000 jobs were created by these newly formed, maybe nonexistent companies; last May’s total job number was jacked up by a 215,000 guess, and June got an artificial boost of 147,000 jobs.

This year, Labor will likely be inserting even bigger faux job totals for each of those three months. In other words, you still might not be able to get a job in the real world, but there should be plenty of fake jobs for the newspapers to write about and the politicians to brag about in speeches. Why should you care?

If you are just a regular person reading this column you should be appalled that Washington has trouble getting its numbers right. But wait, there’s more. Interest rates have already been rising because (and I don’t need to tell you this) inflation is a problem. Mortgage rates, for instance, have moved three-quarters of a percentage point higher over the past six months. And that’s without the Federal Reserve purposely tightening credit conditions. The next three months’ job figures — if they are as strong as I think they will be — could give the Fed a compelling reason to, at the very least, end the money-printing operation it calls Quantitative Easing. And it may even have to start talking about raising interest rates. That won’t be good news for either bonds or stocks, the latter of which have been on a truly unbelievable ride upward. Remember the first investment advice you received (probably from your mom or dad): if it’s too good to be true, be suspicious. It’s gonna get exciting especially when you see what happens by summer. (But that’s for a future column.)

Is the federal government like one of those hoarders you see on TV? It buys into projects and programs (resulting in a clutter of $12 trillion in debt) but is pained when it needs to get rid of just $39 billion of those programs. The government is a mess — just like the homes you see on TV. And the picture isn’t going to get any prettier when someone, at some time, tries to get the government’s house in order. – Home sales are still plunging, and prices are going down, down, down. Well, maybe it’s time to listen to John (that would be me). Change the rules on retirement plans so the American people can rescue the ailing real estate industry, which, by the way, will take a decade to fix if left on its own.

Let people withdraw a relatively small percentage of the $15 trillion in retirement funds to purchase real estate. Give them a tax break — maybe even a big one. And smack Wall Street down when it voices the inevitable opposition to this plan. (Remember, the money I’m proposing to be used for this idea is now in retirement plans mainly invested in Wall Street products.) Maybe it is time for a plan that’s reasonable and doesn’t risk bankrupting the nation or ruining our currency.

Ya know, I’m just thinking out loud.



Written by David Frederick

April 12, 2011 at 8:23 AM

The End of the Dollars Reign

The end of the U.S. dollar’s reign as the world reserve currency. This issue has been of strong interest to me for the past 5 years. Why? Because of the cataclysmic impact it would have on U.S. Businesses, the U.S. economy, and ultimately you and me and our families. Let me break this down in a very simple way.

  1. The U.S. dollar is currently and for roughly the last 50+ yeas has been the world’s reserve currency.
  2. This means when Non-U.S. businesses want to buy, import, export, or sell things globally, they have to first purchase U.S. Dollars in which to conduct the transaction. this is expensive for them.
  3. When global companies price products for the global markets i.e. OPEC, they do so in U.S. Dollars.
  4. There are many reasons for this – stability of the dollar, the track record of the U.S. of honoring its debt, treasure bonds, U.S. economic strength, etc.
  5. A huge advantage of being the United States is that since our currency is the standard, we do not have to purchase U.S. dollars to conduct business in the U.S. or globally. We don’t have to include huge risk and fluctuations of world currencies in our business transaction, the U.S. consumer is not directly subjected to global currencies fluctuations on a large daily scale. We don’t have to sell dollars to buy Yuan, Peso’s, etc. and absorb the currency difference and then sell or buy in Yuan’s, etc.
  6. This is one of the perks of being the worlds largest economy and economic leader….. until now.

With China and India becoming huge economies, # 2 and #3 respectively behind the U.S.,  it is predicted by many that in the next 10-20 years, China will surpass the U.S. and then in 10 years further, India will surpass China as the worlds largest economy. Already with huge deficits in the U.S., inflation creeping in, the cost of U.S. goods going up across the board, things are already precarious. If the U.S dollar was to be devalued further by say 20% and/or the world decides to use multiple currencies as the currencies reserve i.e. Chinese Yuan’s or Euros instead of OR in addition to the dollar, things could get real bad for a fragile U.S. economy and the impact on U.S. business and consumers could be cataclysmic.

The cost of everything we do, build, buy, sell, earn, etc. would sky-rocket to a proportion unimaginable. No this isn’t a doomsday prediction. Its reality. Already, China, Russia, France, Brasil, the World Bank, OPEC and others are all calling for and openly discussing moving away from the U.S. dollar as the worlds currency reserve. This is real folks and will most likely happen in the next 5-10 years. I personally believe the EURO and Yuan need some time to mature structurally and get its act together, but it’s coming. China and the EU are taking measures to shore up their currencies to be a viable competitor. Even having competition and multiple world currency reserves could have huge impacts for the U.S. and its people and businesses. When you look at a $14+trillion-dollar U.S. deficit, uncontrolled spending, major entitlement issues like social security, medicare, pensions, etc. unresolved and bankrupting the country, states and local governments, etc. we have our work cut our for us in the U.S. The last thing we need is a major impact to our currency status. That could be the one thing that knocks the U.S. over the tipping point of economic collapse i.e. restart and rebuild mode. The impact of that is almost unimaginable. Who will bail us out? China? No way.

Check out this related article from the WSJ where several economists from UC Berkeley discuss this very issues. Personally, I think they understate the impact to the U.S. economy, but it is a good read. Check it out here!



Written by David Frederick

March 3, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Experts Divided Over Google-Verizon Net Proposal

Here is an interesting article regarding Google’s and Verizon’s proposed legislation on Net Neutrality. This is a fascinating subject and I wanted to share this article from MIT’s Technology Review with you. But from my perspective, I am skeptical about anything coming out of Google that involves “legislation” considering Google’s close ties to the White House/Administration and the ongoing federal and congressional investigation. Makes me nervous. So much for a company that professes do NO harm! Hippocratic oath for Google or Hypocritical oath? Be the way, I am not anti-Google. Quite the contrary. But I am distrustful of companies that engage politically and sneaky ways. Either go for the gusto and proclaim your affiliation or shut up. But don’t sneak and slither around the back rooms. Its slimy, people don’t like it and it negatively impacts your brand.

OK, on to this article


Experts Divided Over Google-Verizon Net Proposal
Some see it as a positive step–others see loopholes.
By Erica Naone

Earlier this week, Google and Verizon released a joint proposal for legislation to govern how Internet service providers manage online traffic. Though the companies touted their support of an open Internet, the proposal has come under criticism for providing loopholes that some say could allow Internet service providers–or large Web companies–to grab an unfair advantage by prioritizing certain Web content.

The proposal has ignited a firestorm of debate around “net neutrality,” the principle that Internet service providers should not be able to prioritize how content, such as streaming video or peer-to-peer content–or traffic from a particular customer–is delivered. The debate has also centered on how companies could, by extension, limit the types of applications users can access, or what devices they can connect to a network.

The issue came to a head in April this year, when a court ruling limited the Federal Communications Commission’s ability to regulate how carriers handle traffic. The FCC had sought to stop Comcast from throttling traffic from the file-sharing service BitTorrent on its network.

Google and Verizon’s new proposal calls for the FCC to investigate claims of unfair treatment, and for a standards-setting body to outline the difference between actions that must be taken to reasonably manage network traffic and actions that stack the deck in favor of a particular party.

Both companies say that the proposal works in favor of an open Internet. Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in a press conference that the legislation “would establish a new and enforceable prohibition against discrimination for wireline and broadband Internet services, specifically, no discrimination against or prioritizing of lawful Internet content apps or services in a way that harms users or competition, no blocking or degrading of Internet content and applications.”

Some experts say the proposal could help produce a real resolution on net neutrality.

“I would hope that the Verizon-Google proposal breaks the logjam on network neutrality, by showing there is room for compromise,” says Kevin Werbach, an associate professor of legal studies and business ethics at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and founder of the technology consulting firm Supernova Group. “The proposal has problems, but it’s a real effort to find common ground between network operators and companies that innovate on top of the Internet.”

But two aspects of the document have watchdogs worried. One is a provision that would let broadband providers offer “additional, differentiated services,” that would be not be subject to the same rules as the open internet. These would possibly include “health care monitoring, the smart grid, advanced educational services, or new entertainment and gaming options.” The other is the absence of any rules regarding wireless Internet traffic. The proposal points to the “still-nascent nature of the wireless broadband marketplace” and suggests requiring carriers to be transparent to users about how they handle wireless traffic, but imposes no additional rules.

Experts have debated what these exceptions may mean and what the two companies are really proposing.

“As many others have noted, the exclusion of wireless from all but the transparency requirements is a dreadful idea,” wrote Cindy Cohn, general counsel and legal director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation in a legislative analysis of the proposal. “Neutrality should be the rule for all services, and a distinction between wired and wireless not only defies reason, it also abandons the portion of the Internet that is currently most lacking in openness and neutrality.”

Some, however, agree that the wireless arena is problematic. Mung Chiang, an associate professor of electrical engineering at Princeton University who studies the modeling, analysis, and design of networks, says that wireless carriers truly are dealing with unique problems of competition and network congestion, a trend that is only increasing as more types of wireless devices come on the market. Chiang believes it’s not a good idea to introduce regulations before the technology has solidified.

While Werbach agrees that wireless is different, he argues that the legislation needs to include conditions that would trigger the FCC to intervene once the market has matured.

Experts have also expressed concern that allowing carriers to offer additional services could undermine the public Internet. Gigi B. Sohn, president and cofounder of the advocacy firm Public Knowledge, said in a statement: “While there would be no pay for priority on the best efforts Internet, there are almost no limits on so-called ‘managed services,’ other than that they would need to be ‘distinguishable in purpose and scope’ from the Internet.”

Public Knowledge and other groups have expressed concern that carriers would have carte blanche to create special offerings that could exclude those on the public Internet.

Chiang says, however, that the Internet is already “a loose confederation of subnetworks,” and he believes it may be necessary to have special provisions for certain types of traffic. For example, it may be sensible to treat imaging data relating to an important surgical procedure differently from other traffic. He sees “nothing intrinsically wrong” with carriers creating special-purpose services, though he acknowledges the potential for abuse–if, for example, carriers used this as a way to ban competitors’ products.

Werbach agrees, saying, “There’s no perfect way to differentiate ahead of time. For example, I haven’t heard much concern that Comcast’s XFinity Digital Voice phone service, which has millions of subscribers, has undermined the open Internet. That’s a managed service that expressly discriminates and excludes other providers.”

Provided these loopholes are monitored, some see the Google-Verizon proposal as a positive move. “While most of the reaction has focused on Google,” Werbach says, “the fact that Verizon accepted enforceable nondiscrimination obligations is a major step in the right direction. Those who argue that broadband providers won’t invest without freedom to discriminate will have a much harder time making that case after this proposal.”

Written by David Frederick

August 12, 2010 at 9:44 AM

Beating the Recession Blues

I have been posting a lot about the economic ruin in our country at the behest of Congress and the Obama administration. Believe me, there is a lot to write about. Take this mornings headlines:

Homes lost to foreclosure up 6% from last year...
Jobless claims jump to highest since February
DOW drops 265...
Q2 GDP Growth Could Be Revised To Just 1% After Trade Data...
No one could say the U.S. and world economy is in good shape. This obviously affects and impacts global business large and small, which ultimately effects the American people, consumers, workers and business owners. But I am a realistic optimist and believe things will turn around. Assuming we are all here and still in business, this will be a good thing.
I received an interesting post from Harvard Business Review talking about beating the Post Recession Blues. Clearly, people at Harvard think the recession is over. Perhaps they don’t read the headlines or look at the numbers. The recession is over only if you believe the government definition and weren’t they the ones that got us into this mess? I digress. The article does have some interesting points from an emotional perspective that I believe are relevant and should be considered.
Here are some highlights from the article by Ron Ashkenas entitled “Do you have the Postrecession Blues?”
If the recession is officially over (according to government statistics), why are you still down in the dumps? It may be your mindset. It is hard to see opportunity amidst high unemployment rates, tight credit, a slow housing market, and more. But the reality is that the recession has created a whole set of opportunities (DF NOTE: I totally agree). Don’t be preoccupied with the negatives. Instead, look for ways to grow and create competitive advantage. (DF NOTE: HELL YEAH!) Has the recession hurt your competitors? How can you take advantage of the focus on sustainability? (DF NOTE: People don’t care about sustainability when they can’t pay their bills including consumers!) How are you planning to move into new markets? (DF NOTE: Its tough when the government keeps taxing you) Think of the problems that the current economic environment creates and look for the opportunities they generate. This shift in mindset can help you beat the blues. (DF NOTE: Agreed)
OK, so post analysis. Some good points in there. There are always opportunities if you look hard enough. Sometimes, one persons/company’s problem is another opportunity. Its tough out there … no question, but… if you look hard enough, think outside the box, innovate, execute and keep to the basics, you can make great things happen for you, your company and your clients. To quote one of my favorite characters Rodney Copperbottom from the movie Robots – “See a need, fill a need”.
The only way to beat the recession blues is to focus like a laser on identifying opportunities, creating solutions to those opportunities and executing. Things are tough, but they will get better. Focus and execute. Find new ways to solve your clients challenges. Think outside the box, rapidly innovate, take advantage of technology to lower your cost of operation, manufacturing, etc. Force yourself to think of new ways to succeed, become more efficient, do more with less, etc. remember, plan for 80% and the go. The remaining 90% is usually non-relevant, redundant, and not necessary. Keep plugging and make things happen. No one else will do it for you. Especially the government!

Written by David Frederick

August 12, 2010 at 9:30 AM

U.S. Defict for July OVER $165B!

All I can say is wow! Please don’t tell Congress and Obama what number comes after a trillion! Did Congress and the American people forget how many freaking zeros are in a billion let alone a trillion? A billion is a thousand million! Good grief! Whats even more startling is the U.S. Government took in $139.71 Billion in corporate taxes in the last 10 months of the U.S. Fiscal period! Lets keep taxing business, that will get the economy and jobs back on track.


From WSJ and Dow Jones

Deficit in July Totals $165.04 Billion


The U.S. government spent itself deeper into the red last month, paying nearly $20 billion in interest on debt and an additional $9.8 billion to help unemployed Americans.

Federal spending eclipsed revenue for the 22nd straight time, the Treasury Department said Wednesday. The $165.04 billion deficit, while a bit smaller than the $169.5 billion shortfall expected by economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires, was the second highest for the month on record. The highest was $180.68 billion in July 2009.

The government usually runs a deficit during July, which is the 10th month of the fiscal year. So far in fiscal 2010, the government spent $1.169 trillion more than it made. That figure is about $98 billion lower than during the comparable period a year earlier.

For all of fiscal 2009, the U.S. ran a record $1.42 trillion deficit. Fiscal 2010 might run a little higher—the Obama administration sees $1.47 trillion.

Wednesday’s monthly Treasury statement said U.S. government revenues in July totaled $155.55 billion, compared with $151.48 billion in July 2009.

Spending was higher, totaling $320.59 billion. July 2009 spending amounted to $332.16 billion.

Year-to-date revenues were $1.75 trillion, compared with $1.74 trillion in the first 10 months of fiscal 2009. Spending so far in this fiscal year is $2.92 trillion, versus $3.01 trillion in the prior period.

Spending for benefits for the unemployed year to date totaled $121.4 billion; for July, the tab was $9.8 billion, the Treasury statement said.

Years of deficit spending by Washington have led to a mounting national debt. Interest payments so far in fiscal 2010 amount to $185.25 billion; by contrast, corporate taxes collected by the government during the same 10 months were $139.71 billion. Interest payments in July alone were $19.9 billion.

Write to Jeff Bater at jeff.bater@dowjones.com and Darrell A. Hughes at darrell.hughes@dowjones.com

Written by David Frederick

August 11, 2010 at 9:08 PM

CBO – The Role of Immigrants in the U.S. Labor Market

This is a very interesting report from the CBO.  Let me start out by saying a couple of things here. 1: I am both a product of immigrants from Italy, Ireland, Germany and England, and of American Indian ancestry.  So I guess that makes me both a proud product of (legal) immigrants to the USA,  and a product of the original possessors of this land and country.  2: I am a firm believer in comprehensive immigration reform. What is my definition of comprehensive immigration reform? Simple. 1: Effectively and immediately secure and manage our borders. 2: Create a comprehensive program to deal with the 12+ million folks here illegally – of ALL nationalities. 3: Ensure a legal and effective path to citizen ship for those who truly want to assimilate, contribute to our society, economy and national value i.e. fully becoming an American. 4: Attract educated and motivated people from around the world who can and want to contribute to our growth, national values and defense, and economic success. Thus, creating jobs, opening business, innovating, etc.

Just like many immigrants from China, Korea, Japan, Western and Eastern Europe, etc.. They come to build a better live and ultimately build a better country. To be part of something special. Something exceptional. To become an American. These people, families – immigrants could go any where i.e. Germany, Canada, Australia, the UK, etc. And many do and contribute in a positive and exceptional manner to those countries.

Yes, I know immigration is a touchy and politically sensitive topic. (I can also hear some of you saying what the hell does this have to do with business, innovation, etc. Keep reading.) But the reality in America is that its a huge uncontrolled mess with a critical negative impact and consequence for national security, national prosperity, employment, and economic issues facing all American’s and American Business. To quote a Founding Father, shrewd business man and objective thinking – Benjamin Franklin “The importation of foreigners into a country that has as many inhabitants as the present employments and provisions for subsistence will bear, will be in the end no increase of people, unless the new comers have more industry and frugality than the natives, and then they will provide more subsistence, and increase in the country; but they will gradually eat the natives out. Nor is it necessary to bring in foreigners to fill up any occasional vacancy in a country for such vacancy will soon be filled by natural generation.”
(“Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind and the Peopling of Countries,” 1751)

This brings me to my point and this report from the CBO. One of the biggest strengths the United States has is its diversity of culture and thinking. We are a truly a nation of immigrants. A nation of immigrants that have traditionally and historically followed the law, assimilated into our national ideals and collectivly worked to build a greater country for both their family and their fellow citizens. Throughout American history many if not most of these immigrants brought with them highly skilled labor, professional skills in medicine, science, technology, and much more. ALL of which have directly and tangibly contributed to and made a direct impact on our national success and identity.

What the CBO’s report is showing is that the current flood of immigrants over the last decade, etc. to the U.S. are primarily from Mexico and Central America. Many illegally. More importantly, over half of the immigrant population in 2009 coming from these regions did not even have a high school diploma OR GED credential.

How does this help America and American Business? OR any country for that matter facing a similar challenge. It doesn’t. We are not an agrarian society any more, nor a manufacturing one since we off shore everything to China! So…. what to do in a world and country, in this case the USA, that is heavily technology and information based. These types of economies need and require skilled, educated, trained, intelligent and innovative workers. Not an uneducated mass of people who do not contribute to the greater growth/value and at worst, have limited potential to truly help themselves and their families to a better life . I know that sounds cruel. But reality and truth is cruel. This is fact and undisputed. It is also the nature of things through time and memorial and is nationally and regionally universal. This is the case around the world and through the centuries.

So what to do? Well, there are a lot of things that can be done now at least as far as the U.S. is concerned outside of the 4 definitions of immigration reform I outlined above. Some ideas include the following:

  • Create an accelerated recruitment and fast track to citizenship program for highly skilled , trained, and motivated people who are interested in wanting to become an American citizen, contribute to our country, and build a better life for their family and ours.
  • Help support Universities and Colleges to work with foreign students who want to stay, become citizens, and contribute to America i.e. attract bright minds, hard workers and motivated people who want to become a positive part of our country.
  • Create a more efficient and effective work visa programs for people who want to come here legally, work and contribute but may not for legitimate reasons want to become an American.
  • Help educate and/or re-educate/train American’s who have lost their jobs to out sourcing, economic issues, etc. Lend a helping hand to lift up American’s who are willing, able, and motivated to learn, contribute and prosper.
  • Create tax credits to help American’s who cant afford to send their kids or themselves to college so they can learn and gain the skills necessary  to contribute more effectively to their own lives and those of their fellow citizens.
  • Create a tax system that enables American business – small, medium and large, to recruit, hire, train and place American workers to succeed and excel in today’s global economy. Do you know that American businesses pay the highest corporate tax rates in the world when combining Federal, State and Local taxes? Add to this the upcoming tax changes and you kill small business. Do you really have to ask why American companies send jobs and work to China, Egypt, Vietnam, etc.? We need something like Ireland’s corporate tax plan.
  • Punish American business that knowingly hires, retains, and utilizes illegal aliens/immigrants – regardless of nationality and country of origin. We are a nation of laws. Additionally, we don’t need no new laws. Simply enforce what we have in place.
  • Look at the situation holistically and from a point of reality not from one political view or another. Look at it Nationally and whats in the best interest of the country and the American people first. Most importantly what is consistent and in compliance with the Constitution and laws of our nation.
  • And more.

Look, this isn’t rocket science. Its not complicated. In fact, the Constitution is pretty clear on this. The existing laws of the nation are clear on this. So what is the problem here? In addition to the Constitution and existing laws,  there are additional  real, effective, simple and productive ways to create a win win for all and work within the framework of our laws and constitution. However, it is politically tough, sensitive, and when viewed from prejudiced, biased, and close minded binders its becomes damn near impossible. Especially in our current political climate. It takes will, perseverance,  vision and an understanding of the Constitution and will of the American people to lead. Currently, we don’t have that in our national leadership. To quote the former President of MIT – Francis Walker (President MIT 1881-1897)

“For it is never to be forgotten that self-defense is the first law of nature and of nations. If that man who careth not for his own household is worse than an infidel, the nation which permits its institutions to be endangered by any cause which can fairly be removed is guilty not less in Christian than in natural law. Charity begins at home; and while the people of the United States have gladly offered an asylum to millions upon millions of the distressed and unfortunate of other lands and climes, they have no right to carry their hospitality one step beyond the line where American institutions, the American rate of wages, the American standard of living, are brought into serious peril. “Restriction of Immigration” by Francis A. Walker, The Atlantic Monthly, June, 1896; Vol. 77, No. 464; pages 822-829.

The current path we are on as a nation is one of peril and unsustainability, especially when viewed through unbiased reality supported by the CBO’s report. We need REAL pro-active and pro-American change and now. The alternative is bad for everyone – Americans, American Business, and immigrants. I would be curious as to your thoughts on this. Please comment!


One final thought: The U.S. is not the only country that has this problem. Look at Germany, the U.K, Canada, Australia, France, etc. Some countries control and manage this challenge tightly i.e. Switzerland, others are an abysmal failure – the USA.


People born in other countries represent a substantial and growing segment of the U.S. labor force—that is, people with a job or looking for one. In 2009, 24 million members of the labor force—more than one in seven—were foreign born, up from 21 million in 2004. However, the growth of the foreign-born labor force was much slower between 2004 and 2009 than between 1994 and 2004. In that earlier period, the size of the foreign-born labor force grew at an average annual rate of more than 5 percent, whereas from 2004 to 2009, the rate was about 2 percent. As a share of the total, the foreign-born labor force grew from 10.0 percent in 1994 to 14.5 percent in 2004 and to 15.5 percent in 2009.

Among members of the foreign-born labor force in the United States in 2009, about half came to this country before 1994. In 2009, 40 percent of the foreign-born labor force was from Mexico and Central America, and more than 25 percent was from Asia.

In 2009, over half of the foreign-born workers from Mexico and Central America did not have a high school diploma or GED credential, as compared with just 6 percent of native-born workers. In contrast, nearly half of the foreign-born workers from places other than Mexico and Central America had at least a bachelor’s degree, as compared with 35 percent of native-born workers.

Over time, participants in the U.S. labor force from Mexico and Central America have become more educated. In 2009, they had completed an average of 9.8 years of schooling— up from 9.5 years in 2004; 55 percent lacked a high school diploma or GED credential — down from 59 percent in 2004; and among 16- to 24-year-olds, 50 percent were not in school and were not high school graduates — down from 60 percent in 2004. Nevertheless, those born in Mexico and Central America are constituting an increasingly large share of the least educated portions of the labor force. For example, in 2009 they made up 64 percent of labor force participants with at most an 8th grade education — a figure that was 58 percent in 2004.

To a considerable extent, educational attainment determines the role of foreign-born workers in the labor market. In 2009, 70 percent of workers born in Mexico and Central America were employed in occupations that have minimal educational requirements, such as construction laborer and dishwasher; only 23 percent of native-born workers held such jobs. On average, the weekly earnings of men from Mexico and Central America who worked full time were just over half those of native-born men; women from Mexico and Central America earned about three-fifths of the average weekly earnings of native-born women.

Foreign-born workers who came to the United States from places other than Mexico and Central America were employed in a much broader range of occupations. They were more than twice as likely as native-born workers to be in fields such as computer and mathematical sciences, which generally require at least a college education. Their average weekly earnings were similar to those of native-born men and women.

The information on immigration in this report comes from the Current Population Survey, a survey of U.S. households conducted monthly by the Census Bureau. The survey asks respondents where they and their parents were born. Those who were born in another country are asked when they came to the United States to stay and if they have become a U.S. citizen by naturalization. They are not asked about their legal immigration status.


Written by David Frederick

July 30, 2010 at 1:40 PM